Arkansas Politics

Local & Regional News
9:18 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Beebe Takes Aim At Opponents Of Medicaid Expansion

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is comparing ending the state's compromise Medicaid expansion that he backed to the insurance policy cancelations that many saw as the federal health care overhaul rolled out.

Speaking to the Political Animals Club on Wednesday, Beebe said halting the private option seems hypocritical since opponents of the expansion also complained about the widespread reports of policy cancelations from the federal health law last year.

Beebe later walked back the remarks, but said he believed the consequences would be similar.

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Local & Regional News
9:13 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Arkansas Governor Backs Bill Keeping Darr Office Vacant

Governor Mike Beebe
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he'd sign into law legislation that would allow him to avoid calling a special election to replace Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who is set to resign this week over campaign finance and ethics violations.

Beebe told reporters Wednesday that legislative leaders have shown him a draft bill that would give him the discretion on whether to call the special election for Darr. House and Senate leaders say they'd rather keep the office vacant, since the election will be in November. 

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Local & Regional News
1:21 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Arkansas Panel Recommends Fundraising Exception

An Arkansas House panel is recommending that two members running for Congress be allowed to raise campaign funds during next month's legislative session.

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday voted to recommend exempting candidates for federal office from a prohibition on raising money during the legislative session. The Legislature convenes its fiscal session Feb. 10.

State Reps. Bruce Westerman and Ann Clemmer are running for two congressional seats. Westerman had asked the panel whether the fundraising prohibition applies to federal candidates.

Local & Regional News
4:25 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Newly Elected Republican State Senator Sworn In

Credit Maggie Carroll/KUAR News

Newly elected state Senator John Cooper was sworn in Tuesday at the Arkansas State Capitol.  

The Republican comes into office after a special election was held earlier this month to replace former senator Paul Bookout, a Democrat, who resigned for ethical violations.

In an interview with KUAR, Sen. Cooper said he does not have a specific agend,a but will be supporting “conservative causes.”

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Local & Regional News
6:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll: It’s Still The Economy

More Arkansans feel the state is heading in the right direction than the wrong direction and a majority identify the economy and jobs as their top issue of concern.

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Local & Regional News
2:43 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Ross Raises $540,000 In Final Months of 2013 For Race For Governor

Mike Ross

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross has raised more than $540,000 in the final months of 2013 in his bid for Arkansas' top office.

The former congressman's campaign said Wednesday that he ended 2013 with $2.5 million cash on hand and had raised $3.65 million since announcing his bid in April.

Wednesday is the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

Ross is the only Democrat seeking the state's top office.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is barred by term limits from seeking re-election this year.

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Local & Regional News
2:23 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Special Election Bodes Ill For Arkansas Health Plan

A Republican takeover of a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat dims the prospects for continuing the state's compromise Medicaid expansion plan and could be a troubling early sign for Democrats who had hoped to rebound from recent losses at the polls.

Republican John Cooper's win in the special election Tuesday for the seat vacated by Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout over ethics violations gives Republicans a 22-13 majority in the Senate and takes away a key vote for the "private option" Medicaid expansion lawmakers approved last year.

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Local & Regional News
12:11 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Northeast Arkansas Voters Pick GOP Candidate For State Senate

John Cooper

Republican John Cooper has won a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat, giving Republicans an extra seat in the Legislature in a race that was viewed as an early bellwether for this year's general election.

Cooper defeated Democratic nominee Steve Rockwell and replaces Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout.

Bookout resigned last year after he was fined by the Ethics Commission for spending thousands in campaign funds on personal items such as clothing and theater equipment.

Complete but unofficial reports showed Cooper winning 57 percent of the vote.

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Local & Regional News
3:00 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Legislature Will Meet To Discuss 2015 Budget

The finance department projects a 2% increase of about $95 million  in general revenue, available for state agencies to spend in the upcoming fiscal year. The Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee begin meetings Tuesday to discuss the current 2014 fiscal session and the 2015 budget which goes into affect July 1st.

Representative Duncan Baird, Joint Budget Committee Co-Chairman, says the Department of Human Services will join them Thursday to discuss Medicaid and the private option.

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Local & Regional News
2:43 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Officials Consider Whether To Hold Special Election To Fill Lt. Governor's Position

With Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr stepping down next month over ethics violations, legislative leaders say there's growing support to change the law to keep his office vacant and avoid a special election to fill the post for just a few months.

Gov. Mike Beebe said Monday that he was still researching whether the law requires him to call a special election to fill the vacancy for Darr, a Republican who announced Friday he would step down Feb. 1.

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